• Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Unsettling Times for Iraqi Kurdistan

    Jan 10, 2018Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Sulaymaniyah protests last December have revealed a deep split in Iraqi Kurdistan. By pitting Sulaymaniyah against Irbil, Baghdad aims to capitalize on the…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    The Middle East in 2018: A Trump Administration To-Do List

    Jan 9, 2018Charles W. Dunne

    US Middle East priorities in 2018 include Iran, the fate of the two-state solution, and managing instability in Iraq and Syria. US policy confusion and lack of…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    Regime Unity Will Decide the Fate of Iran’s Protests

    Jan 4, 2018Imad K. Harb

    Iranian protesters’ slogans and demands indicate that there is much angst and frustration with the slow pace of political reform, the glacial movement of econo…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaThe GCC

    Costly Mistakes in Saudi Decision-Making in Yemen and Lebanon

    Dec 27, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Saudi Arabia’s mistakes and poor decision-making in Yemen and Lebanon have been at the heart of recent failures to deal with the two countries and have allowed…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptMedia and Technology

    Press Freedom Reversals in Post-Arab Spring Countries

    Dec 18, 2017Sahar Khamis

    Just like the path to democratization and reform has been obstructed or derailed in most of the Arab Spring countries, so has the path to media freedom, in a p…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Implications of Saleh’s Assassination on Yemen’s Future

    Dec 8, 2017Joe Macaron

    For the Iranian regime, Yemen remains a low-risk investment at Saudi Arabia’s border; and the impression in Tehran is that Saleh’s assassination forced Riyadh’…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarEnergy and Economics

    The GCC’s Future Is in the Balance after Its 38th Summit Meeting

    Dec 7, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The GCC should be preserved despite the failure of its 38th summit meeting in Kuwait and the establishment of a Saudi Arabian-Emirati new political and militar…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    Missing Considerations of the Counterterrorism Alliance

    Nov 29, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The first meeting of the Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition, which took place in Riyadh, may have provided recognition of MbS’s leadership of the Musl…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    US Military Planning in the Middle East: Increasing Challenges, Vague Strategies

    Nov 28, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Uncertainties about US military policy, intentions, and ambitions in the Middle East together with many political challenges and developments increase the conf…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Trump Embraces the Saudi Vision of the Yemen Conflict

    President Trump has adopted the Saudi leadership’s position that the Yemen conflict is a case of Iranian and proxy adventurism that needs to be rolled back and…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Is Power Trumping Legitimacy in Saudi Arabia?

    Nov 16, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Machiavellianism endangers at least three pillars of legitimate rule in Saudi Arabia: royal family consensual decision-making, con…

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    US Curbs Saudi Arabia’s Surge in Lebanon

    Nov 14, 2017Joe Macaron

    Clear statements from the White House and the Department of State appear to have curbed the Saudi surge in Beirut and toned down Riyadh’s rhetoric against the …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Iraq’s Disputed Territories: A Worrisome Achilles’ Heel

    Nov 13, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Two major factors will help shape the future of Iraq’s disputed territories. One is the population dynamic, given the influx of internal refugees, and the othe…

  • Policy Analysis

    Policy Recommendations for the Trump Administration

    Nov 9, 2017Sumaya al-Majdoub

    The last session of the second annual conference of Arab Center Washington DC, held on October 26, 2017, concentrated on policy recommendations for the future.…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Is Mohammed bin Salman Overplaying His Hand?

    Nov 6, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Mohammed bin Salman may think that consolidating power in his hands will help the kingdom face its challenges, but he would do well to know that sidelining imp…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Amid Regional Chaos, US Seeks Improved Saudi-Iraqi Ties

    Nov 6, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Despite many pitfalls, the Trump Administration is quite keen on helping to improve relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq in an effort to contain Iranian inf…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Ankara’s Ambiguous Policy toward a Divided GCC

    Oct 30, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    As a key player in the GCC crisis, Turkey has tried to support Qatar while avoiding potential deterioration in Ankara-GCC relations, which would result in nega…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Domestic Troubles for the Saudi Arabian Leadership

    Oct 24, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Mohammed bin Salman’s challenge to established norms of governance in Saudi Arabia and the abrupt changes in its economic and social conditions may help pull t…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Kirkuk Battle Is a Watershed Event for Iraq

    The Iraqi central government harnessed domestic and international support to abort the Kurdish referendum for independence, in the process weakening the KRG’s …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranSecurity and Defense

    The Art of (Decertifying) the Deal: Trump’s Iran Strategy and the Nuclear Agreement’s Future

    Oct 17, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    The president’s decertifying the Iran nuclear deal does not terminate US participation in the JCPOA but opens the door to such a move, roils US relations with …

  • Policy Analysis
    LebanonDemocracy and Governance

    Will US, Saudi Pressure Deter Hezbollah in Lebanon?

    Oct 12, 2017Joe Macaron

    Given the current status quo in Lebanon, the best American and Saudi pressure can do is to make the country’s political environment unbearable for Hezbollah.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Kurdish Referendum and Cross-Communal Dynamics in Iraq

    While Abadi’s popularity has risen because of his stewardship of the successful anti-Islamic State campaign, his standing could be jeopardized if the crisis ov…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Does Turkey Really Want to Punish Iraqi Kurdistan?

    Oct 3, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey may feel that it has to impose punitive measures against Iraqi Kurdistan over the referendum but countervailing Turkish domestic political conditions ma…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Iraq’s Kurds Vote to Secede, but Problems Loom

    The widespread disapproval of the Kurdish referendum inside Iraq, the region, and internationally points to potential serious developments for the Kurds and a …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Strategic Implications of Reopening the Baghdad-Amman Highway

    Sep 29, 2017Joe Macaron

    While pivotal for Jordan’s and Iraq’s economies, the recent re-opening of the Amman-Baghdad highway has strategic and security implications for faraway powers …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    The Follies and Pitfalls of the Kurdish Referendum

    The Kurdish referendum is a dangerous play with delicate Kurdish and Iraqi politics to shore up KRG President Masood Barzani’s legitimacy in Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • Policy Analysis
    IranInternational Law

    Trump’s United Nations Speech: More of the Same

    Sep 20, 2017Marcus Montgomery

    President Trump’s speech before the UN mixed isolationism and economic nationalism with calls for international consensus building, two irreconcilable position…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    The US and the GCC: A Steep Learning Curve for President Trump

    Sep 18, 2017Imad K. Harb

    In its first year in office, the Trump Administration must work on remedying its shortcomings on Gulf affairs and strive to safeguard the GCC’s unity as a stra…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Trump Administration’s Wishful Policies in the Yemen Conflict

    Prolonging the Yemeni conflict with unending military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign has been a disaster. The long-suffering Yemeni people deserve a chan…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Troubling Ambiguities in the UAE’s Role in Yemen

    Sep 8, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The UAE’s ambiguous policies in Yemen expose the entire restoration of Yemeni legitimacy to uncertain circumstances, put it and Saudi Arabia at cross purposes,…

  • Policy Analysis

    Can the Gulf Cooperation Council Survive the Current Crisis?

    The GCC is likely to survive the current crisis, at least on paper, but to become far less relevant as policymaking is driven by younger decision-makers who ha…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    The Popular Mobilization Forces and Iraq’s Next Elections

    Sep 6, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Multiple Shia parties are competing to benefit from the successes of the Popular Mobilization Forces in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq’s 2018 nati…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantUS Foreign Policy

    An Evaluation of President Trump’s Emerging Counterterrorism Strategy

    Aug 30, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    President Trump’s counterterrorism strategy that relies on military solutions is unlikely to succeed in a region with complex politics, dubious allies, and lon…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Is the Turkey-Iran Rapprochement Durable in Iraq and Syria?

    Aug 24, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Given the historical nature of the Turkish-Iranian rivalry, a durable rapprochement between Turkey and Iran requires assurances about the future of the Kurds a…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqSecurity and Defense

    The Realities and Challenges of a New US SOFA with Iraq

    The United States and Iraq are currently negotiating a new Status of Forces Agreement that is contingent upon numerous domestic, regional, and American conditi…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Potential for Intercommunal Violence in Iraq and Syria

    Aug 9, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The legacy of authoritarianism, the rise of sectarian sentiments, ethno-nationalist aspirations, communal grievances about government neglect, and outside inte…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    An Economic Explanation for Egypt’s Alignment in the GCC Crisis

    Aug 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    With Egypt heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia and the UAE for its economic stability and survival, Cairo may not find much room for independent foreign policy dec…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqDemocracy and Governance

    Existential Questions: Iraq Gears up for Elections

    Aug 7, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Iraqi political forces are beginning to come together, pick fights, ingratiate themselves with potential foreign patrons, and evaluate the mood of the country …

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Mohammed bin Salman’s Elevation and the Way Forward

    Aug 1, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman faces serious challenges in affirming Saudi Arabia’s domestic stability and addressing the fallout from the GCC crisis and the…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Improving Iraq-GCC Relations: No Time Like the Present

    Jul 27, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    Iraq’ reintegration into the Arab world, particularly in terms of improving its relations with its Gulf neighbors, will support its stability as well as ensure…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The GCC Crisis: Media, Hacks, and the Emergence of “Cyber Power”

    Jul 25, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    Media tools have been employed heavily in the GCC crisis to suppress freedom of the press and expression, indicating a shift from military and soft power to a …

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Day after Mosul’s Liberation

    Crafting a new social and political order after the defeat of ISIL in Mosul, and elsewhere in Iraq, is a responsibility for the Iraqis, their allies, the regio…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Turkey’s Hard Choices in Syria and Iraq

    Jul 19, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Turkey finds itself in a strained position in post-Islamic State Syria and Iraq. It lacks leverage with Russia, the United States, and Iran and fears Kurdish a…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Stupendous Hubris…and Its Damage

    Jul 18, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Revelations in the Post article stand the entire GCC crisis on a new footing, now that tangible information has been made public and confirms the Qatari govern…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Qatar-US Memorandum of Understanding: A Game Changer

    Jul 11, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The MOU is a game changer and provides a significant milestone on the road to a political solution that preserves GCC unity, stability, and prosperity.

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEducation and Development

    Youth Unemployment Remains the Main Challenge in the Gulf States

    Persistently high youth unemployment remains the chief domestic challenge facing the Gulf states. Efforts to encourage the private sector to absorb new entrant…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    The Independence Referendum: A Pyrrhic Victory for Barzani

    Jul 10, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The Kurdish decision to hold a referendum on independence from Iraq may bring happiness to the Kurds but will come at a heavy price for the Kurdish leadership.

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Current Competing Dynamics in the GCC Region

    The competing strategic dynamics of Gulf and other actors complicate the current crisis and make its resolution contingent upon sometimes divergent interests.

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Absent Rationality in the GCC Crisis

    Jul 5, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Developments since last May have shown a careless disregard on the part of the Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates-Bahrain entente of the basic tenets of rationa…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The GCC in Turmoil: Repercussions of the Gulf Crisis on Iraq-GCC Relations

    Iraq and the GCC have a long history of cooperation as well as enmity. How has the relationship between Iraq and GCC nations developed and what is the impact o…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Yemen Conflict and Its Elusive Political Solution

    Overshadowed by the conflict in Syria, Yemen continues to suffer from an internal civil war, a regional proxy war, and a grave humanitarian crisis. Unfortunate…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Legal Analysis of the Demands Presented to Qatar

    Jun 26, 2017

    I. IntroductionOn June 23, 2017, Kuwait, acting as a mediator, presented Qatar with a thirteen-point list of demands on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaDemocracy and Governance

    Kingmaker: The Rise of Mohammed bin Salman

    Jun 22, 2017

    As Saudi King Salman appoints his 31-year-old son Mohammad bin Salman as Crown Prince, what are the implications for Saudi security, the GCC crisis and the reg…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    Foreign Policy Aspects of US Weapons Sales in the Gulf: What Does the United States Get Out of It?

    Jun 22, 2017David B. Des Roches

    US government policy in the Arabian Peninsula is often maddeningly inconsistent to outside— and inside—observers.  A republic such as the United States, which …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfEnergy and Economics

    Impact of the GCC Crisis on Global Energy Markets

    Jun 21, 2017Joe Macaron

    While the diplomatic row among GCC countries had no immediate impact on energy trade, the uncertainty and longevity of the crisis might have long term reverber…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    Turkey and the Gulf Crisis: Erdoğan’s Most Difficult Game

    Jun 19, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    Ankara’s policy toward the Gulf crisis is shaped by economic and strategic concerns as well as fear that the same allegations against Qatar could be directed t…

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfThe GCC

    President Trump Failed His Gulf Test

    Jun 15, 2017Imad K. Harb

    The United States must show a full-fledged commitment to GCC unity and refrain from appearing to side with some of the council’s members against others.

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarRegional Relations and Geopolitics

    What’s at Stake for the United States in the GCC Crisis?

    Jun 8, 2017Joe Macaron

    A lot is at stake for US national security in the Gulf, including the possibility of living with a divided GCC, the potential expansion of Iranian influence, a…

  • Policy Analysis
    QatarConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Why Qatar? Explaining Contentious Issues

    Jun 6, 2017Imad K. Harb

    What should concern all members of the GCC today is working together not only to simply iron out differences but to provide an agenda for successful collective…

  • Policy Analysis
    EgyptConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Egyptian-Saudi Relations: Managing a Difficult Marriage

    Saudi Arabia and Egypt need each other at this uncertain time and this inter-dependence keeps them together in a symbiotic relationship despite occasional stra…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Emboldened Kurdish Aspirations in Iran: Where Are They Headed?

    Jun 5, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    An independent Kurdistan contiguous to the Iranian Kurdish region may trigger hawkish regime elements in Tehran—especially in the case of unresolved territoria…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Dangers of Arab Normalization with Israel

    Jun 1, 2017Dana El Kurd

    Arab normalization with Israel is a shortsighted policy on the part of governments, organizations, and individuals. Such a policy poses a risk to both the Pale…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    A US-Iran Race to Control the Damascus-Baghdad Highway

    May 31, 2017Joe Macaron

    Securing the Damascus-Baghdad highway and deterring Iran’s regional activities might lead to a direct US involvement in the Syrian war.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantJustice, Equality, and Human Rights

    Gaping Holes in Trump’s Well-Received Speech

    May 26, 2017Imad K. Harb

    President Trump’s speech on better relations with Muslims exposed flaws and gaping holes the Administration will have to correct if it wants to advance its int…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantReligion and Politics

    Trump’s Riyadh Speech: Same Intolerance, Different Packaging, No Strategy

    May 24, 2017Tamara Kharroub

    Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia received praise and acclaim but it is hard to see if the president has indeed changed his opinion about Islam and Muslims.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    Human Rights in the Constitution: A Survey of the Arab Uprisings

    May 24, 2017Mai El-Sadany

    When Arab citizens took to the streets in peaceful uprisings throughout 2011, their demands included “freedom,” “justice,” and “dignity.” Their governments rea…

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Iraq Beyond the Islamic State

    May 17, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    After the defeat of ISIL and the reconquest of Mosul, how will Iraq’s government address the lingering issues of national identity, minorities, and Kurdish asp…

  • Policy Analysis
    Saudi ArabiaConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Cautionary Notes to the GCC about Trump’s Visit

    May 15, 2017Imad K. Harb

    President Trump’s erratic behavior and lack of knowledge and his administration’s institutional problems require great caution from GCC leaders when he visits …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranDemocracy and Governance

    Challenges Facing Iran’s Presidential Contenders

    May 9, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Iran’s presidential candidates are acutely aware that if elected, they would have to hew to the wishes and ultimate desires of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Middle East in Trump’s First 100 Days in Office

    May 3, 2017Joe Macaron

    Projecting the image of political stability and steadiness in Washington is paramount for US policy in the Middle East. There is no room for second-guessing th…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Trump Ponders Renewing America’s Longest War in Afghanistan

    Apr 26, 2017Joe Macaron

    The Pentagon has in recent weeks flexed its muscles in Afghanistan but the US continues to navigate a difficult environment in that country as the Taliban rema…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Quandary of Bad Governance in the Arab World

    Apr 24, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Polling in the Arab world shows that Arabs in general have little confidence in their civilian institutions and believe that their governments are not doing en…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Next Challenge for Trump: The Islamic Republic of Iran

    Apr 24, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    As the new administration of President Donald J. Trump struggles to find its foreign policy footing, with early tests emerging in the Middle East, Asia, Europe…

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Deterring Iran in Yemen: Will the United States Join the Hodeida Operation?

    Apr 19, 2017Joe Macaron

    The United States debates whether it wants to assist in evicting the Houthis out of Yemen's Hodeida.

  • Policy Analysis
    IraqConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Avoiding a Second Fallujah in Mosul

    Apr 18, 2017Mustafa Gurbuz

    The victory in Mosul requires a comprehensive strategy that includes addressing the looming danger of civilian deaths, winning the hearts and minds of Sunni lo…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantIdentity Politics and Sectarianization

    Perceptions of ISIL in the Arab World

    Apr 14, 2017Radwan Ziadeh

    Arab autocrats can no longer argue that Arabs are satisfied with authoritarian rule. New social movements have emerged after the Arab Spring advocating for hum…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantDemocracy and Governance

    The Trump Administration’s Complicated Middle East Map

    Apr 12, 2017Charles W. Dunne

    As the 2016 US presidential campaign wound its way through a long string of primaries, fundraisers, and an almost unimaginable marathon of candidate debates, d…

  • Policy Analysis
    LevantConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    The Outsider Diplomat: Tillerson Strives to Define his Role

    Apr 6, 2017Joe Macaron

    After two months in office, Tillerson is gradually coping in his new job; his success or failure will indeed have a significant impact on US foreign policy in …

  • Policy Analysis
    The Arabian Peninsula and The GulfSecurity and Defense

    The US Military Posture in the Gulf: Future Possibilities

    Apr 4, 2017Imad K. Harb

    Since former President Jimmy Carter announced the establishment of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in the Middle East in 1980—which later became Central …

  • Policy Analysis
    IranConflicts and Conflict Resolution

    Genocide in Mosul: The Repercussions of Targeting Civilians

    There have been widespread allegations that the destruction of Mosul, the major Sunni Iraqi city after Baghdad, is the aim of the Iranian-backed Shiite militia…